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Keesler Housing Demolition Begins
From: Senior Airman Sarah Stegman
Keesler News Staff  
Filed 2/17/06  GCN
Demolition is looming for military family housing areas on the brink of a $300 million military construction project after Hurricane Katrina cut livable on base-housing in half.

"Before military construction can begin, 865 units have to be repaired and 232 more units located in Oak Park, south Pinehaven and south Harrison will be demolished," said Brett Long, housing office assistant chief. "The repaired homes eventually will be demolished as well, but serve as livable units during the transition to the new housing area."

Currently 583 units are livable, but only 497 of them are occupied. "The first areas to be vacated are north Thrower Park, northwest Falcon Park, Maltby Hall and the northwest corner of Bay Ridge," Mr. Long said.  "We won't know what areas need to be vacated next until a contractor is selected and provides a phasing plan."

The first phase of the demolition for the MILCON project begins next month and is expected to be finished in June.

"North Harrison Court, Oak Park, north Thrower Park, northwest Falcon Park and the northwest corner of Bay Ridge are the first areas to be demolished," Mr. Long explained. 

This is in preparation for the first phase of the largest MILCON project in Air Force history. The project ultimately demolishes the repaired homes and 1,067 new two-story units are constructed in their place.  The new units have an average of 77 more square feet than previous homes, and each unit has at least a one-car garage.

All homes are expected to be at least 18 feet above sea level to ensure maximum protection from future damage, and all existing utilities - natural gas, water, storm and sewer - are replaced.  The contract to build the homes will be awarded in mid-April, and the reconstruction is expected to take about two years.

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